The Patient Becomes Recovery Founder
By Yael Adam, Co-Founder, CPO, Laguna Health
I used to train 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, for years. I ran, I drilled, I lifted weights. I was an athlete, it was my identity. I pushed myself to the extreme and sometimes after I pushed too far something in my body gave out. Now, after three knee surgeries and many cumulative years of physical rehabilitation, I am no stranger to recovery.
During training, I learned that a significant aspect of wellbeing is adequate recovery. After training, I was taught to recover by listening to what my body needs and giving it the attention it deserves. I competed in many world class championships from the European Championships to World’s Championships. Needless to say, this took its toll on my body. No matter how hard I worked to stay in top form, I experienced the kind of injuries common to many athletes. In my case, it was three knee surgeries that gave me a front row seat into the uncertainty that occurs after hospitalization and recovering at home often alone. Even then, I wondered if there was something missing that could help everyone recover properly.
This point was driven home when my sister and I both started our families. I, luckily, had three relatively smooth births, and was sent home within a day. My sister had her children in Israel where a whole ecosystem, including clinical and emotional support programs, exists to support the family as they welcome a newborn into their home.
I now saw the tale of two recovery pathways. This gave me the urge to create a solution that provides everyone the kind of guided post-hospital recovery experience that I wish I had had after going through surgery. The system was just lacking the right incentives and tools to do so. This became something I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I was still left wanting to close the gap between physical and emotional recovery in the transition from acute care back to everyday life.
I wanted to leverage my fierce competitiveness with my engineering and product prowess to make a positive impact. I started at the pediatric ICU in CHLA and then founded a digital health company that helps people get the most appropriate care for them. Now I am launching Laguna to assure everyone’s recovery using data, technology, and live support.
Whatever the solution, it had to be something we can offer everyone, not just a strong local program that helps one community. In order to bring recovery into everyone’s home, the solution had to be digital. To ensure that members receive the right support at the right time, the solution has to be data-driven so that it can adapt to patients’ ever evolving needs. Finally, to offer comprehensive support, I knew that we had to incorporate the key component that is proven to aid successful recovery: empathy. That’s why we brought in diverse behavioral health experts in home recovery, leading nurses, and top physicians as immovable foundations to our care-pathways.
I’m thrilled to have the best team around that’s dedicated to fundamentally reimagining how recovery should be done.
Yael began her career as a software development engineer at Microsoft and Amazon. She then joined the PICU at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Yael left the hospital to co-found Vim: a healthcare company that raised over $70m from leading VC Sequoia Capital and others to connect payers and providers . As co-founder and CPO at Laguna Health, Yael builds products that improve patient recovery after hospitalization. In addition to Laguna, Yael is an active mentor for women’s leadership at Osheya, an organization dedicated to advancing the position of women in medicine, health, and wellness. She is married to Etai, a Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist, and they have three children together.